Leaving your pet with someone you don’t know can be a daunting and confronting task however for some pet owners it is a matter of necessity. Here are some tips on how to select a facility for your pet and make their stay as comfortable as possible.

Will your dog be happy in a boarding kennel?

Many dogs are very happy when they stay in kennels and look forward to their stay. Despite the fear of owners, most dogs settle into boarding life very quickly.

How can you help make your pet’s stay as comfortable as possible?

Plan well in advance. Visit the kennel beforehand to verify that the facility meets your expectations. Ask for references and talk to other pet owners about their previous experiences with the facility.

Some kennels will also recommend a series of short boarding visits lasting a few hours to allow your dog to become accustomed to being away from you as well as familiarising themselves with their new surrounds.

If you are making an extended trip, we suggest one or two short stays at the facility. When you pick up your pet, evaluate their general condition. This may give you an indication of the standard of care your pet received. Be sure to ask the kennel staff about your pet’s behaviour and appetite. Don’t be alarmed if their appetite declined during their stay. Many pets that are unaccustomed to boarding will show some signs of anxiety which is often reflected in eating habits.

Are there any requirements necessary before boarding your pet?

Pets must have current vaccinations before boarding. If your boarding facility does not stipulate any vaccination requirements then this could indicate in appropriate standards of care.

For dogs, distemper, hepatitis, parvo virus and “canine cough” vaccines are universally required. Boarding kennels will require written proof of vaccination prior to boarding your pet.

Any medical problems or dietary requirements should be fully discussed before boarding your pet at a kennel. Be sure to call and find out what is required prior to your visit to prevent last minute delays.

Finding a suitable boarding kennel

How will you find suitable boarding kennels?

Recommendations from friends, neighbours or our healthcare team are often your best source of information.

How do you evaluate a boarding kennel?

Visiting kennels and speaking to the owners of the facilities will give you a good starting point for evaluation. Here’s some of the things you should look out for and ask.

  • Is the facility clean?
  • Do the current boarders appear to be relaxed and comfortable?
  • Do the boarding team members have a genuine interest in pet care?
  • How often and what type of food will your pet be fed?
  • How often will your pet have access to an exercise area?
  • Will he/she share the exercise area?
  • What measures are taken to ensure your pet will not be socialised with unfamiliar or unsocial pets?
  • How often will your pet’s sleeping and exercise area be cleaned?
  • Will your pet be relocated during cleaning times? If so, where?
  • Will your pet have access to adequate shelter day and night?
  • Will your pet be supplied with adequate bedding? Will they have access to a raised bed, or be elevated from a concrete floor?
  • Does the facility have adequate security both night and day?
  • What happens if your pet becomes unwell?
  • What is their procedure for contacting you should your pet become unwell?
  • What is their procedure for contacting a veterinarian should your bet become unwell?
  • Does the facility strictly adhere to the rule that all boarders must be vaccinated?
  • Can their staff administer your pet’s medication if required?
  • Did they ask about your pet’s particular needs or behaviour so their team can make them feel as comfortable as possible?

There are many options for boarding. If you are not happy with the facilities you have visited, try another until you find the people and location you are most comfortable with so you can relax and enjoy your time away from home too.

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